Progress on bringing Apple Pay to South Korea 'still in an early stage'

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Though Apple is working on launching Apple Pay in South Korea, the mobile payments system is still some ways out — and the company has yet to hold a critical meeting with the government, according to a local report.

A legal director and a senior counselor from the company visited Korea in November to talk with the country's financial officials, a source informed the Korea Herald. At the time however, Apple's team is only said to have explained how Apple Pay works — including the tokenization of transactions, for security purposes — while promising to partner with local credit card firms.

To actually launch in Korea, Apple will need to meet with authorities again to determine whether it should be registered as an electronic financial business operator. No such meeting is scheduled so far, the Herald noted.

On the private side, meanwhile, an official with one local card company told the publication that "work with Apple is still in an early stage."

This stands in contrast with Google, which is expected to launch Android Pay in Korea before Apple can get a foothold. The company is not only said to be planning a meeting on the electronic financial business operator issue, but working with card companies like KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Lotte, and Hyundai on online and NFC-based payments.

It's believed that Google will probably focus on online transactions first, as most Korean retail stores reportedly lack NFC-ready sales terminals. The situation has in fact given Samsung an edge, since Samsung Pay can be used at any terminal with a magnetic card reader. The firm isn't registered as an electronic financial business operator, though, since it doesn't actually generate money from transactions.

Apple Pay is now accepted in a dozen countries. Apart from the U.S. this includes places like Australia, Canada, China, France, Russia, and Japan. Taiwan has been confirmed as an upcoming market, but hints of a German launch have yet to solidify.


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